I am weary from living in this world. I wonder how it is that God loves us as He does. I have to remind myself often God’s love is for all and unlike me, God does not pick and choose who to love or how to love them. His love is abundant and unconditional. I confess I do not understand it. My human perspective is filled and filtered through personal perceptions and experiences and expectations. 

People running red lights much more often. People wanting to be right. People being mean, rude, impatient, selfish, self-centered. And when I say people, I am included in this group of humanity, this group of flawed and fragile people, more broken than we are willing to acknowledge or admit.

When I find myself faltering in hope for this world, I seek His face. Because if I don’t, the enemy gets the foothold he is always looking to find in me. 

Because here’s something I’ve discovered. When I stop, when I seek God, and when I sit in His presence, He offers me glimpses of humanity I don’t always see or even look for on my own. In the stillness of those moments with my Creator, God reminds me just how much people are hurting and how much they need grace.

Including me.

As we approach Christmas and as we move through this Advent season, I find myself needing God so much more, a trend I plan to carry with me into the New Year. Without Him, I let my brokenness influence my outlook on this world and the people who inhabit it. Without Him, I am quick to judge others and to lament the state of the world. Without Him, I fall more easily into despair, losing sight of beauty, hope, joy, and grace.

During these early days of December, I feel like I have been running a race I’m not meant to run. But God invites me to rest in Him and He knows rest is hard for me to practice. Even so, He is faithful to come near and whisper an invitation, a promise, to give him the weight of the world I like to try and carry, whether it’s the weight of the world around me or the weight of my inner world. Both are too heavy for me to bear for any length of time.

For me this year Advent is about making space for the sacred in the ordinary chaos of my life. The days spin quite often out of my control and yet, God is with me. The other night, my husband and I made time to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, and I was struck deeply once again by the lines Charles Schulz gave Linus to recite. Lines taken directly from Scripture:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Linus concludes saying, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Hearing those words reminded me all over again how God chose to enter this messy, messed up word that night. In that moment in Bethlehem, God with us became so much more real than I can truly comprehend. Even so, I am so incredibly thankful for His presence and for the reminder from Charles Schulz the other night. Because even after He came near, He chose to stay. As the human being, I seriously doubt I would have done likewise.

This world? Each of us in our weariness and brokenness? We need grace. We need love. We need God. And not only did He know that, but He did something amazing about it. And despite my world weariness, I feel that thrill of hope found only in Christ.

Because I don’t know about you, but this year I understand more fully the words from the Christmas carol, O Holy Night, “a thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices.”

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